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Does HP + Palm = Facepalm? 236

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the sum-less-than-whole dept.
ChiefMonkeyGrinder submitted a bit of commentary on yesterday's news that Hewlett-Packard was buying Palm. From TFA: "When I first read the news that HP was buying Palm for $1.2 billion, my first reaction was that HP had lost its marbles ('clueless' was how I tweeted it). Why, I wondered, did it need to pay $1.2 billion for a dying platform when it could have used the increasingly popular Android for nothing? (OK, it probably picked up a few useful patents, as well.) I also thought that it didn't have the resources to enter the extremely competitive area of smartphones."
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Does HP + Palm = Facepalm?

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  • Well (Score:5, Funny)

    by OverlordQ (264228) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:27AM (#32029148) Journal

    I totally thought âÅ too.

    • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:50AM (#32029410) Homepage Journal

      For the day /. supports unicode :)

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by tlhIngan (30335)

        For the day /. supports unicode :)

        Actually, at one time, /. did support unicode. Just that well, it's really hard to whitelist unicode codepoints, and crap like "force right-to-left" gets used by people who think it funny to reverse text. (The source code of the page doesn't show it, but because the unicode renderer obeys it, every bit of text onwards gets rendered right-to-left).

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode_control_characters#Bidirectional_text_control [wikipedia.org]

        An old trick was to use the old "megamillion" c

        • Re:Well (Score:4, Insightful)

          by TheRaven64 (641858) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:22PM (#32032210) Journal

          Actually, at one time, /. did support unicode. Just that well, it's really hard to whitelist unicode codepoints

          Nope, sorry, it's really easy to whitelist them and there are existing whitelists that you can easily use. It's slightly harder to blacklist the potentially malicious ones, but even that isn't too hard. Lazy Slashcode developers decided to revert the feature entirely instead of adding the half-a-dozen lines of code that would have made it useful.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I totally thought âÅ too.

      That was my first reaction, but then I thought "âÅbee" which sounded like "maybe" and I thought that maybe HP will try to tie their new handheld devices to laptops as a "bundle". Then I thought "boy, that is the stupidest idea I've had in a long time" ... which is why I fear HPalm might do it.

      I would have much rather seen Palm go to Cisco. AFAIK HP doesn't have a lot of non-MS OS experience in their consumer devices. I wonder how they'll handle this.

      • by Z00L00K (682162)

        Palm has made several mistakes, one was that they were way too late providing a smartphone.

        And they did go from a subtle and slim business-style of the m515 to some style that were boring and/or bulky.

        What they did have was an user interface that actually was rather practical and user-friendly with practical options - like separate control for game sound and calendar sound. (which allowed you to waste time on a game and not forget to enable the sound afterward so you didn't miss your calendar event)

        So when

      • Actually HP has a long history with Unix, both HP-UX and Digital's Unix product. They also have a long history of producing handhelds. This is a really smart move for them, if it works. Right now, they have this iPad-like thing, which is really cool, but only runs Windows, which, frankly, isn't going to be that great on it, and has been a failure in the same market for years. Now they have Palm OS, which is actually a really great product, despite its failure to capture the hearts and minds of enoug

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:31AM (#32029178)

    HP competitor Acer (number 2 in notebooks worldwide behind HP) is coming out with a line of smartphones of its own, and it needs this purchase to leapfrog them.

    • by jonbryce (703250)

      HP already has a line of smartphones running Windows Mobile which they bought off Compaq. I have one in my pocket.

      • by Jezza (39441) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:30AM (#32030098)

        Haven't you just answered the question? HP has been in the PDA/Smartphone space since forever. Now you'll admit that Windows 6.x is hopeless in 2010 (that ship has sailed). Looking across at Android, things aren't pretty. Vanilla Android isn't cutting it, so everyone has to brew their own "secret sauce", lets look at how that's working out?

        Motoblur, is quite frankly a mess.
        Rachel, the Sony Ericsson UI looks great, but it wedded to a really old build. According to those in the know, they are having a hard time moving it to the latest build.
        Sense UI, seems to be the clear winner. HTC have had this working on several builds of Android, most users like it.

        So the odds aren't exactly stacked in favour of "doing Android" - there are pitfalls.

        So what's up with Palm? Well the Pre looked great on paper, so what went so wrong? Three things really. First is build quality, the device looks great, but the "feel" is somewhat lacking. The perception is the unit feels cheaper than it looks and is. Perhaps there isn't really a problem, but that isn't how it feels when you encounter a Pre. Second, the lack of apps. This is a problem only time will solve. Third is the perception that WebOS might not be around for long. Probably it being under the HP banner solves the last one.

        So what's needed? New devices to run WebOS. Sounds like exactly what HP can provide.

        So why are HP so keen. Think about the number one smartphone (yes, the iPhone). What's different about it? The hardware and software are built by one company, and no other company can build "clones". That's exactly what HP get from this. So me this sounds good.

        Off the topic a bit, don't Palm own BeOS? HP could do something with that too... It's just a thought - if you want to be like Apple, well you need your own OS.I doubt anything will really happen with that - but it would be nice to see HP do something with BeOS (and it would be the greatest comeback since Lazarus or NeXT Computer).

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ckaminski (82854)
          Aside from the multitasking on WebOS actually causing the device to be a bit more sluggish than a comparable iPhone launching apps, it actually *IS* probably the best device interface out there after the iPhone. It's a bit small, IMHO, they could have made it the size of the iphone and still added the sliding keyboard, and had a tremendous beautiful display.

          I did notice that even with 12 cards running, worst case performance really wasn't much worse than best-case performance. Though 12 cards did eat up b
        • by edmicman (830206) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:57AM (#32030640) Homepage Journal

          What went wrong was that they premiered on Sprint. If they'd been on Verizon from the beginning, VZW would have had it's flagship next-gen smartphone six months earlier, and Palm would have it's device on the largest network in the US. I cannot for the life of me understand why Android and Palm phones debut on 2nd class carriers like TMobile and Sprint. Like it or not, there's really only two players in the business that can offer true national footprint - AT&T and Verizon. Not going on one of those cripples you right out the gate.

          • by Jezza (39441)

            Hmm... I'd not thought of that. As I don't live in the US I'm not as familiar with your Networks. That makes sense.

          • I agree but Vzw must have been working for a quite a while on getting the license for "Droid" from LucasFilm. Notice that the original Droid was a Motorola but the Droid Incredible is from HTC, so Droid is a Verizon brand. I'm pretty sure Palm wouldn't want their "splash" phone to have a brand they don't own and Vzw probably wanted their first Droid phone to be just "Droid" not "Droid Pre".

            Next is AT&T. Yeah, they are going to risk the wrath of The Steve cutting off their money-truck. Notice that AT

        • secret sauce (Score:4, Insightful)

          by jDeepbeep (913892) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:22AM (#32031140)

          Vanilla Android isn't cutting it, so everyone has to brew their own "secret sauce"

          I don't think it is necessarily a negative to be able to provide customized experiences across carriers and devices. *shrugs*

          • by Bodero (136806)

            I don't think it is necessarily a negative to be able to provide customized experiences across carriers and devices. *shrugs*

            There's a difference between "being able to," and "needing to in order to be competitive."

        • don't Palm own BeOS?

          Nope. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Access_Co [wikipedia.org].

        • "Think about the number one smartphone (yes, the iPhone)."

          While this is true, it's worth remembering that the #1 smartphone *OS* is still Symbian, *by far*. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smartphone [wikipedia.org]

        • by benmhall (9092) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @12:52PM (#32032684) Homepage Journal

          On Palm/BeOS: No, Palm/HP doesn't own BeOS.

          At the time that BeOS was sold to PalmSource, there were two Palm companies: The hardware (called PalmOne at the time - later renamed to Palm) and the software (called PalmSource).

          PalmSource (the software behind PalmOne, Sony, Dana, Tapwave, and other PalmOS 5.x devices) bought BeOS assets for $12m, PalmSource eventually was bought by Access Software, a Japanese company. They used Be technology to create PalmOS 6. It never shipped in a device.

          Access eventually sold rights to PalmOS 5.x back to PalmOne (the hardware company). PalmOne renamed themselves back to Palm and shipped PalmOS and WinCE devices until the Pre and WebOS. Now Palm is being sold to HP. I'm not sure what Access is doing with the PalmSource software. I know they ship an emulator for Nokia's Maemo devices, such as the N810/N800.

          So, HP/Palm/PalmOne own rights to PalmOS 5 (and all of PalmOne/HandSpring's IP), Access owns rights to BeOS and PalmOS 6 (and 5, I think.)

          What a tangled web this is.

      • HP already has a line of smartphones running Windows Mobile which they bought off Compaq. I have one in my pocket.

        Damn! I though you were happy to see me.

  • by raddan (519638) * on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:31AM (#32029194)
    called expertise. Palm has a lot of talented employees, a lot of IP, and a lot of faithful users. These things will all be good for HP if they're really serious about competing in the mobile arena. Many companies fail because their business plan/marketing sucks, and not because they don't make a good product. I'm ambivalent about Palm's stuff, but other people, like my father, is absolutely fanatical about his Palm gear.

    My guess is that HP, like Apple, sees computing appliances as the death knell for general purpose computers. They want to make sure they're still around for awhile.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Yvanhoe (564877)
      Exactly. They can't just "have" Android because it is free. They have to develop a device, they need people who know how to do that. Now they can make an Android-like.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        And also Android is "free", which means that whatever HP produced would have to be "free" also - maybe they want to have the option to not do that?

        People around here seem to think that Android is the magical solution to all ills and ailments...
        • by timepilot (116247)

          Well maybe not the solution to *all* ills. Just the iPhone's ills.

          • by ckaminski (82854)
            1. I don't get the hate with the central App Store? If you have a need to install your own apps, Apple gives you opens (enterprise deployment)
            2. Most of the iPhone's shortcomings in the US are directly caused by their attachment to AT&T, and are not shortcomings of the phone itself (tethering for one).
            3. It has a cleaner, more consistent UI than any other platform ever created.
            4. The iPhone feels like something I could give my grandma to use, and still has power left over for me, but the Android (m
            • by chriso11 (254041)

              No, WebOS is cleaner and more consistent than Iphone's OS. The way notifications, multitasking, and controlling phone features such as Bluetooth and Wifi are cleaner on WebOS.

              As for the central App Store, WebOS has both a Palm sanctioned central app store along with a community developed app store that is independent. You get to choose.

              And I feel I could give my WebOS to my great-grandmother to use, so there.

        • by ckaminski (82854)
          WebOS is free in that you can develop on plenty of platforms (not just Objective C), but it isn't Free in the sense of having an unrestricted App Store, which I think is a good thing. The Android market is loaded with spam and useless comments and reviews. It's almost a joke compared to the Apple App Store.

          Nevermind you can't update *ALL* of your apps at once.

          Here's a great feature, Market authors. Just update all my apps in one go, on press, and alert me when the security policy on an app changes from t
        • And also Android is "free", which means that whatever HP produced would have to be "free" also - maybe they want to have the option to not do that?

          Uh, what? Aside from the kernel, Android is BSD licensed, so HP would be free to add a load of proprietary stuff. This is exactly what all of the other handset developers do.

          The real problem with Android is differentiation. Either you use a fairly stock Android install, in which case there's little to differentiate your product from a cheaper Chinese knock-off (legally) using the same software, or you add a lot of custom stuff. If you're adding custom stuff, then you have to make sure that you keep

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      called expertise. Palm has a lot of talented employees, a lot of IP, and a lot of faithful users.

      The problem is is that modern HP is going to treat them like the rest of their past decade acquisitions: like crap. I'd bet a good chunk of the talented folks are going to get shoved out or just flat out quit from salary declines or getting the "HP Way" crammed down their throats.

    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:55AM (#32029488) Homepage Journal

      Also WebOS has a better UI than Android and as good or arguably better than the iPhone.
      Not to mention that HP will get the revinue from the Appstore. Really the Palm OS is very good what almost killed it was that stupid limited SDK they pushed. Javascript+HTML just doesn't cut it for every app. Add in the very restricted access you got to the hardware and you are limiting the software you can write.
      I had the SDK and within a day I had given up on using it.
      First thing I wanted to write was a simple flashlight app. I want to us the LED that they use for the flash but drive it at a lower intensity. I also thought that an more code sender with the flash might have been fun. You couldn't do it. Actually you could on a jail broken phone but not using the official SDK.
      Okay fine. I then started to work on the programs I really wanted to write. I wanted to write a pod catcher and a music sync program. The way it would work is when the program detected that the Palm was plugged in and charging it would download your podcast and the music sync program would detect when your palm was plugged in and connected through wifi to you home computer. It would then contact a small sync server that I was going to write as a banshee plug in and syn your Palm. These where two different programs but a lot of code would overlap.
      I started to dig into the docs but I couldn't find any way to get the chargeable state! THERE WASN'T ANY!
      It was as if the people writing the SDK never wrote a program of a mobile device in their life.
      The reason I would would only do the sync when chargeable is that was when you could be sure that you wouldn't drain the battery.

      • by dave420 (699308)
        The SDK has been improved greatly recently, and in the near future they're going to offer up much greater access of the underlying phone itself. There's no such thing as a "jailbroken" Palm Pre, just one in developer mode, or with root access granted (which is trivial to accomplish). Getting samba running on it is trivially easy, for example, allowing new media to be added to the phone over wireless. I'm rambling now. I'll shut up.
        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Can you get the charge state yet.
          Yes I know that the Palm was never in Jail but most people understand that term.
          My goal was to learn the SDK and produce some apps that anybody could use including peoples grandmothers.
          I am a big fan of just works. I figure that most people plug their phone in at night so having it auto sync your podcasts and media while you sleep would be brilliant.
          Of course the other feature I would to see is a ring volume timer.
          I would love a feature where I can set my ringer to zero afte

      • Agreed. WebOS is a nice os and I hope HP with all its marketing resources can get it more visibility.
    • by Anders (395) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:59AM (#32029544)

      Palm has a lot of talented employees, a lot of IP, and a lot of faithful users.

      HP has 15.0.0.0/8 and 16.0.0.0/8 so I don't think they need any more IP!

    • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:02AM (#32029576)

      Palm has a lot of talented employees, .

      Not anymore they don't. I'm a hiring manager in Silicon Valley and I can tell you that any Palm engineer with sense has been interviewing and most have gotten away already.

      • Palm has a lot of talented employees, .

        Not anymore they don't. I'm a hiring manager in Silicon Valley and I can tell you that any Palm engineer with sense has been interviewing and most have gotten away already.

        While I agree with you ; that's not a big stumbling block. As long as they can get some key talent they can identify who else they may want and go after them. HP has the $$$ to lure just about any talent they may want.

        My guess it's the IP and patents they want; and not just for smartphones. Tablets may be the next big thing, and in many ways they are just a scaled up smartphone. Palm gives HP some leverage in that space. Think IBM - "sure you can sue us over patent infringement. We'll get back to you w

    • by DJ Jones (997846)
      Ever heard of this thing called "poaching talent"? It's a lot cheaper than buying the entire company at face value. Heck, it's what Wall Street did with Lehman employees. You dump the baggage and take the goods.
      • by JWW (79176)

        Yeah, but in this case I think that along with the talent, HP also wants the devices and the patents of those devices.

        I agree with the other posters here that this is about HP having a unified device and OS strategy ala the iPhone. As much as I like the iPhone, I would really like to see HP able to compete in this arena, and I also really want to see windows mobile fail. Basically, I'm rooting for every mobile os and platform that isn't based on one companies last ditch attempts to expand their PC OS mono

    • by Shag (3737)

      Palm has a lot of talented employees, a lot of IP, and a lot of faithful users.

      If you say so. However, the "lot of IP" Palm has doesn't appear to have kept its "faithful users" around and attracted new ones enough for the company to remain in business by itself.

      In other words, the evidence contradicts your hypothesis.

  • No... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:32AM (#32029212)

    That would be if facebook buys palm.

  • iPom? (Score:3, Funny)

    by rhainman (952694) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:34AM (#32029226)
    Instead of the iPaq, we'll have the iPom.
  • No. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by FlyingBishop (1293238) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:34AM (#32029236)

    But the article basically explains why anyway. The majority of mobile platforms are Linux based, and keeping WebOS strengthens the Linux ecosystem. And objectively, driver support is where most of the issues are going to come into play. Between RIM, iPhone OS, Android, and WinMo, the market is already too fragmented for anyone hoping to reach everyone with a single native application to do so. What's going to be important is what you can plug into your phone (monitor, keyboard, printer, flash drive, etc. ) Apps are icing on the cake, and browser apps for the most part can get all the functionality of a native app. And given that the majority run Webkit, you can even get away with not testing on too many platforms. (Screen size and dimensions are the bigger issue anyway.)

    • The majority of mobile platforms are Linux based

      No they aren't. Of the most used Mobile OSes the vast majority are not Linux based. Unless you care to show how Symbian, BlackBerry OS, iPhone OS or WinMo are Linux based. You can't even claim that Linux-based mobile platforms have even a majority market share as the previous 4 OSes market share combined is around 94%.

    • Re:No. Try it ... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DalDei (1032670)
      Post back when you actually *try* to write a complex WebKit app that runs well on all the webkit platforms unchanged. WebOS / Android / iPhone Its a sheer and utter fantasy that because its "WebKit" its "write once run everywhere". Maybe someday, but not today.
  • Lots of Patents (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BillLeeLee (629420) <`bashpenguin' `at' `gmail.com'> on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:37AM (#32029264)

    The author does state in the article that he was mistaken about the amount of resources HP has, which amounts to at least $25 billion USD in cash on hand, at least 10x more than HTC and Lenovo (the other big Palm suitors from the past week) have in cash.

    When compared to the other major companies in the mobile space, like Nokia, RIM, HTC, or Motorola, Palm seems like a very 'cheap' purchase in order to acquire an entire new line of business, along with their entire patent portfolio.

    Additionally, it seems other articles mention the same patent concerns since Apple is now going after HTC (but not Palm).
    http://www.businessinsider.com/apples-htc-patent-suit-could-be-another-reason-for-someone-to-buy-palm-2010-3 [businessinsider.com]
    http://www.engadget.com/2009/01/28/apple-vs-palm-the-in-depth-analysis/ [engadget.com]

    • by neurovish (315867)

      The author does state in the article that he was mistaken about the amount of resources HP has, which amounts to at least $25 billion USD in cash on hand, at least 10x more than HTC and Lenovo (the other big Palm suitors from the past week) have in cash.

      He probably thinks HP is just a company that makes printers and also has a side business selling desktops and laptops that don't have a lot of market share. I see HP as the largest server vendor in the world. From a somewhat recent IDC report from the fourth quarter, 2009:

      For the 31st consecutive quarter, nearly 8 years, HP is the #1 vendor in worldwide server shipments. HP shipped more than 1 out of every 3 servers worldwide and captured 36.9 percent total unit shipment share.

      I think they can easily absorb a struggling handset maker, especially one with Palm's history and IP portfolio.

  • by brennanw (5761) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:37AM (#32029266) Homepage Journal

    WebOS is a fantastic OS from a user perspective -- the card metaphor for multitasking is very intuitive and the whole design of the interface is easy and elegant and *fun*. It would be a perfect fit for that tablet thing HP is working on.

    I have a Pre and despite a few issues with battery life and a wish for a larger screen I think it's a great phone. Most information about the phone is provided by members of the computer press who are too lazy and entranced by their iphones to bother giving the matter any serious thought.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Pojut (1027544)

      If nothing else, I'm hoping this means we will see more hardware that uses WebOS, specifically phones. I think a WebOS-based tablet would make for a great iPad competitor as well. ::shrug:: if nothing else, as (many) others have said, at least HP now has access to all of the patents, IP, and talent that Palm had. Hopefully, this purchase will bear fruit for consumers soon.

    • by Amouth (879122)

      my only issue with the Pre is.. how on gods fucking sake can i in a text box go back and edit the first part of the line after it is moved out of view..

      sorry but it's just realllllllllly fucking annoying

      • I would love for it to tell me how many chars ive used in a text as im typing it.
        • There are a lot of homebrew applications that modify the UI and various aspects of apps. I have an addon that does exactly what you say, though only for text messages.

          While Palm doesn't directly support those apps it doesn't try to brick your phone when it finds them either.

  • by timster (32400) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:39AM (#32029298)

    The best thing that can be said about this is that it's a really bad investment to pay a billion dollars for Palm. HP is showing a lot of guts in refusing to accept the presumptive Apple vs Google conflict as the definition of the mobile computing war. Generally I would say that HP doesn't have the corporate culture to be anything other than a big irrelevant company like Dell, but if they keep taking big risks and standing behind them that could change. Most likely they will fail, but it would certainly make the next decade more interesting.

  • scaling of webOS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ScottyB (13347) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:42AM (#32029332)

    In some of the news reports on this, I saw repeated references to the fact that "webOS can scale" or something to that effect. I don't know too much about webOS vs. Android vs. Chrome, but my guess here is that HP is buying Palm for tablets and MIDs, not for smartphones. I doubt HP has much desire to go against the HTCs and Samsungs of the smartphone world in hardware, and they're not naturally a software company (a la Google and Microsoft with their respective mobile OSs).

    More likely, I would bet, is that HP has doubts that Android will scale well to tablets (current offerings in the market notwithstanding), with their relatively higher computing power than phones, and their experience with the Slate is probably indicating that Windows 7, despite being a good desktop OS, is not scaling too well down to the netbook level and below. Thus, they might be leaving open the option of pushing a tablet/MID level of computers based on webOS to compete with the iPad on iPhone OS.

    And, if that doesn't work, as others have said, Palm has both a valuable name and lots of talented employees that can become HP's mobile arm, thus allowing them to have their asses covered and prevent shareholder panic.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by TheGreek (2403)

      More likely, I would bet, is that HP has doubts that Android will scale well to tablets (current offerings in the market notwithstanding)

      I'd submit that the current Android tablet offerings are precisely why HP would have doubts that Android won't scale well to tablets.

      • by Svartalf (2997)

        The current tablet offerings are with sub-optimal SoC's. ARM9 stuff because it's CHEAP. Of course it's going to give you the impression you have and think HP has.

        With an ARM11 or the right multi-core ARM9 it becomes more believable.

        With something in the class of a Cortex A8/A9, it becomes very much something that's scalable to tablets, etc.

        However, it really needs the JIT support to gel in Dalvik or it'll be somewhat less useful to people in that space- and that's not yet in place. Upshot is going to be

    • My bet? HP is going after BlackBerry.

      The competitive market for corporate-friendly smartphones is virtually nonexistent, and BlackBerry's product line is outright sad, especially compared to the wonderphones coming out of HTC, Palm, and Apple. However, they continue to dominate the market because nobody has been willing to directly compete.

      HP have a large base of loyal corporate customers, and the experience to sell products to these customers. They could conceivably take down Blackberry with a decent pr

    • ... if tablets were an actual market? Where's the customer base for this? If tablet computing, and not the mobile expertise, is the justification for that price, they're really crazy.
    • by poor_boi (548340)
      Java and Linux (the two core technologies Android is built around) have proven to be two of the most scalable technologies of the past 15 years. Android will scale.
  • To me there's 2 fairly clear things to be said about HP's buy:

    They don't like Windows Mobile 7, they already use Windows Mobile in their devices, but they must have decided 7 was uncompetitive and too closed down by Microsoft.

    They don't like Google, they like selling big expensive enterprise servers, so selling a device which emphasizes connecting the the gCloud was kind of out of the question.

    Of course HP has a long heritage of mobile design via other buyouts, the original iPaq from Compaq

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cowscows (103644)

      I think there's two possibilities. Either way, HP's management sees that there's a serious shift to mobile computing happening, and that they really need to get in on it if they want to remain a big player. But the big question is whether or not they have a plan to do this.

      Possibility #1: HP wants to try to make decent mobile computing devices, and they think that they've got the best chance to be successful if they can control both the hardware and the software. That's Apple's strategy, and it seems to be

  • by JaCKeL 1.0 (670980) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:50AM (#32029414)
    They are able of the best and the worst at the same time: Their old COMPAQ laptop division who's now called Elitebook are in the top best machines. But their consumer branch (Pavillon) are the worst machine ever made. They have a good marketing, they are everywhere and everybody use their product but not many people loved them. When you have warranty the service is great but if you don't and it is a common issue, they will deny the problems, and wait for a court order before making a recall which they will fix by putting exactly the same flawed part. I have tons of broken HP machine coming to my office and it is always a well-known common problem. They make good printer, but they load their half working driver with crap, spyware, crapware... They also are responsible for the ink markup, they encourage customer to buy a new printer every time the ink runs out. They spy their competitor and their customer. I don't know where they are going with palm, I don't even know if it will be for better or worst....
    • by svtdragon (917476)
      My workstation is an elitebook and I get a couple of bluescreens a day(!). On the other hand, my Dell Precision M70 from 5 years ago runs as good as new... although that may just be the benefit of running Ubuntu at home versus XP at work. But even with XP on my M70, I never had the same kind of issues I have now with the HP.

      That's not to say that the EliteBooks (and enterprise-grade systems in general) aren't worlds better than their consumer-grade trash, but still, there are far better options.
  • by jjb3rd (1138577) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:55AM (#32029494)
    When I was a young buck working my first developer job in college Compaq had the best little handheld ever created...it was the iPhone of 1998...it was iPaq. It ran Windows CE, which is shit today because it's hardly changed since 1996. However, in 1998, it was amazing. We developed some software for them (and the customers went with $4000 ruggedized B&W models as opposed to the $500 or $600 iPaq, which was awesome. HP bought Compaq, started making the iPaq with cheaper and cheaper parts. it got shittier and shittier and slower and slower and Microsoft focused on bastardizing it into a phone and HP said meh. Then iPhone comes along (which I have and love btw), and everyone's like, oooh, it's never been done before, well arguably not as good, but still, iPaq as a bad-ass machine in its day and HP fucked it...guess what they'll do with Palm, who it could easily be argued beat out iPaq only to fuck themselves with incompetence. While I'm at it, fuck Android...bring on the flamebait. The irony of the parallels between the phone computer was between Apple/iP* and Google/Android and Apple and Microsoft back in the day is clear. Microsoft copied from Apple and released an open, but shoddy platform. Google is copying from Apple and releasing an open, but shoddy platform. I may be alone here, but I hope Apple wins this one. I'm sure I'm alone in being excited about actual innovation coming out of Redmond with Windows Phone 7...but it looks like their glossing over some clunkiness (typical).
    • by Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:11AM (#32029716)

      When I was a young buck working my first developer job in college Compaq had the best little handheld ever created...it was the iPhone of 1998...it was iPaq. It ran Windows CE, which is shit today because it's hardly changed since 1996. However, in 1998, it was amazing. We developed some software for them (and the customers went with $4000 ruggedized B&W models as opposed to the $500 or $600 iPaq, which was awesome. HP bought Compaq, started making the iPaq with cheaper and cheaper parts. it got shittier and shittier and slower and slower and Microsoft focused on bastardizing it into a phone and HP said meh. Then iPhone comes along (which I have and love btw), and everyone's like, oooh, it's never been done before, well arguably not as good, but still, iPaq as a bad-ass machine in its day and HP fucked it...guess what they'll do with Palm, who it could easily be argued beat out iPaq only to fuck themselves with incompetence.

      While I'm at it, fuck Android...bring on the flamebait. The irony of the parallels between the phone computer was between Apple/iP* and Google/Android and Apple and Microsoft back in the day is clear. Microsoft copied from Apple and released an open, but shoddy platform. Google is copying from Apple and releasing an open, but shoddy platform.

      I may be alone here, but I hope Apple wins this one. I'm sure I'm alone in being excited about actual innovation coming out of Redmond with Windows Phone 7...but it looks like their glossing over some clunkiness (typical).

      Whilst I do agree with your comments about the iPaq as someone who has seen the whole HP/Compaq/DEC train-wreck from the inside* I feel bound to point out that the bad things happened when Carly arrived on the scene and got a whole lot worse when they aquired Compaq - a lot of bad performers on both sides were promoted to way above their own level of competence and unfortunately the few digital staff who had survived became very resentful of the situation.

      In short from my perspective it was the two great engineering firms HP and DEC that have become sullied by a culture of mediocrity that Compaq brought to the party.

      * my wife was a DEC engineer and I was a HP contractor pre-merger

  • My take (Score:3, Interesting)

    by proverbialcow (177020) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @09:58AM (#32029532) Journal

    Posit:
    The HP buyout offer was announced after the closing bell yesterday - $1.2bn, or $5.70 - and after-hours trading traded $PALM around $5.88.

    Proposition 1: The only reason someone would pay more for these shares than the tender offer is if they think another offer is coming, and the last time I checked, the only other interested party was Lenovo.

    Proposition 2: I anxiously await a bidding war between two desktop manufacturers for control of $PALM, a company with a beautiful, technologically sound, poorly managed OS. Why? Because they *also* own Be's old technology - a beautiful, technologically sound, poorly managed OS.

    Proposition 3: To properly modernize BeOS, whoever buys them should work cooperatively with the Haiku project for things like, say, Wi-Fi or USB, and in return offer Haiku patent amnesty under $PALM's patent-folio umbrella.

    So, who do I want to win? Neither, really, since whoever buys them will focus on the handsets alone and neglect the fact that they FRICKING OWN BE, INC., and thus an opportunity to develop a netbook-OS that doesn't suck.

    HP's attempts at open-source relations have been like a high-school backseat tryst: HP climaxes early, loses interest immediately and leaves the eager and supple open-source community sexually frustrated, so to speak. Lenovo has been, at best, benign and neglectful. They at least offer the open-source alternative to Windows on their hardware, but it's not exactly advertised, and because M$ subsidizes hardware with OEM buy-ins, it's actually more expensive an option.

    Perfect world option: I'd like to see Google buy them, incorporate the niceties of WebOS into Android, and what's useful from Be's 15-yr-old OS be merged into ChromeOS. Competitors would cry foul but, come on, Android phones already outsell Palm phones, and both are dwarfed by Apple and Blackberry

    • Re:My take (Score:4, Informative)

      by wbo (1172247) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:09AM (#32029686)
      Correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Be's IP bought by PalmSource and not by Palm Inc? Keep in mind that PalmSource and Palm Inc. are not the same company (although they worked closely together.) That would mean that Be's IP is currently owned by Access.

      I remember PalmSource using some things from Be in PalmOS 6 - which unfortunately never got used in any devices before Access bought them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Svartalf (2997)

      BeOS is owned by Access, who bought PalmSource, the previous successor in interest to the OS.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by TheNumberless (650099)

      Proposition 1: The only reason someone would pay more for these shares than the tender offer is if they think another offer is coming, and the last time I checked, the only other interested party was Lenovo.

      I'm not entirely sure what happens to the borrowed shares owed when stock is shorted, but my guess is that people who've shorted Palm's stock and still owe outstanding shares stand to lose a lot if the stock becomes delisted. I imagine many people were shorting Palm, and perhaps they were willing to pay more than the HP buyout price to make sure they get the stock back to their creditors while they still can.

  • I posted on the earlier summary about how even my ancient Palm Tungsten E2 functions very well as a retarded little laptop and won't bore anybody by repeating myself. I will, however, note that with a thorough upgrade and proper marketing, this small device (or it's grandkid) could effectively replace a lot of bigger, more power-hungry devices.

  • TFA is a troll (Score:2, Interesting)

    by d3ac0n (715594)

    Seriously, did the article writer not read ANY of the readily available information about the purchase?

    Possibly he was too busy wanking off onto his Android, as he is apparently a MASSIVE Droid Fanboi.

    However, had he actually read up on it he would have noted that HP is MASSIVELY interested in WebOS. Particularly in bringing WebOS into the TABLET market to compete directly with the iPad. Hell, the HP execs practically reached through the internet and slapped us all silly with their enthusiasm for WebOS o [slideshare.net]

  • sorry for palm loyalists, but you know a company have no future if it changed hands several times already.

    palm started as independent, was sold to US Robotics, then became part of 3COM when they acquired USR, then spun off, splited in software and hardware, merged software and hardware again, now they're HP... uffff !!! got tired just of typing that. thing is, no one at palm knows how to sell their stuff right or survice in a cut-throat environment. when they were pretty much alone in the PDA market, they w

  • It's about the O/S (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Old97 (1341297) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:31AM (#32030100)

    There is no evidence that Android and its model – a free ubiquitous operating system running on a plethora of devices – will ever dominate the profitable end of the market. That’s a commodity market where being adequate and low priced is what it takes. Free and open doesn’t mean success in consumer markets. Linux on the desktop anyone?

    Apple has demonstrated very well the advantages of a tightly integrated optimized stack especially in mobile devices. They and RIM together account for the great majority of the profits accrued in the entire cell phone market. Apple’s personal computers are far more profitable than generic PCs.

    I see HP wanting to go up against Apple in the mobile device space using Apple’s own business model. Why would they care to enter an Android market where it’s so hard to differentiate themselves? If they want to push volume with low profit margins they already have that with their PCs. Do they want to repeat that? I doubt it. They’d end up losing to the Koreans and Chinese.

    Palm has been successful – technically – producing devices coupled to operating systems that offer significant consumer value. What they lack is capital. They also lack a Steve Jobs figure – a visionary willing to take risks who isn’t answerable to anyone in the short term. (He has his track record to back him up.) Will HP identify or hire such a visionary and then will they give that person the freedom to execute on their vision? If they do they will be a formidable competitor to Apple. If all they offer are some technical skills, capital and manufacturing capacity, then they will be competing in the lower less profitable tiers with the likes of HTC, Motorola and Nokia.

  • by SuperKendall (25149) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @10:38AM (#32030232)

    I see this more as a move to back up the tablets they are making, than an attempt to get into mobile (though they also have that now as well, with shipping phones to support and enhance).

    Android is not as well suited to the tablet space, exactly because of the physical buttons (the Pre has one physical button like the iPhone).

    The issue is that with the larger form factor of the tablet, physical buttons become awkward to hit. Also what side do you put them on - with a tablet it can make sense to use it in any orientation, but the more buttons you have to hit the harder they are to find when you need them, and Android has that menu button you have to use often while using apps.

    The buttons android offers make a lot of sense in something that is always held the same way in the hand, but doesn't scale well to larger form factors.

    One example. [youtube.com]

    • by ProppaT (557551)

      In the new Pres, they've actually done away with the button. It's now, except for the volume controls and keyboard, a buttonless phone.

    • The Palm Pre Plus has 3 hardware buttons and a switch not to mention 34 keyboard keys.
  • Is there anyone around here that has not totally given up on HP's products? They have some of the worst customer service in the business and their PCs are inferior to the competition, without exception. Even their former forays into the handheld market were incompetent at best; I still have an iPaq H2215 with the rubber coming off of the sides, what a piece of garbage.

    The only bright spot is that this makes it that much more likely that HP will implode in a puff of logic.

  • Herd mentality (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver (213637) on Thursday April 29, 2010 @11:12AM (#32030938)

    Although John Gruber is one of the worlds biggest Apple fanboys (and can, therefore, be a tad biased at time) he hit the nail right on the head with this post called Herd Mentality [daringfireball.net].

    In short, the only way to win is when you control both the hardware and the software. Companies who do not, generally get locked into a price war with little to nothing else to differentiate with.

    Why be another Android purveyor when, if you get it right, you can be something much bigger and better? Of course, whilst owning both means you get a chance to win, it doesn't mean you can't lose (as Palm has shown).

    Granted, HTC have done well, but they're still ultimately constrained by third parties who may or may not share HTC's best interests and aspirations.

  • Money, money, money (Score:2, Interesting)

    by yankeessuck (644423)

    I thought the same thing initially but then I thought about it a little more and found one way it could work. HP obviously just doesn't know how to make/market mobile devices (see the puny sales from Jornada and iPaq) so just slapping Android into an iPaq isn't going to help.

    Instead, buy Palm who is actually pretty darn good at it and give their management and engineering teams gobs of money and marketing muscle to work with. Then buy out of the Sprint exclusivity and they got a chance to move some phones.

    O

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Pengo (28814)

      Maybe you missed the memo, but Palm is now on Verizon and soon to be on AT&T.
      They haven't been exclusive to Sprint for some time now.

      But yes, I agree with your points. Given the money and more important, marketing channels that HP already has in the retail sector for their computers, they could rock out with a solid tablet offering.

      There isn't many technical shops or mass-chains (Walmart, Target, Costco, BestBuy, etc. that do not already have HP shit on their shelves..)

      If HP puts some quality products

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